They’re here again, that annual run of the migratory species known as the tourist. Although they flock to our area over Christmas-New Year, it still won’t be a problem to find a few fish.
Summer in local estuaries absolutely booms and already this year I’ve had some great surface sessions catching bucketloads of bream right throughout the day.
My lures of choice for surface breaming so far this year have been slightly longer stickbait-style poppers like the Bassday Sugapen and the Zipbait Skinny Pop Jnr, but just about any small profile popper will do the trick.
There have been plenty of whiting around, many of which will be more than happy to come to the surface after one of these poppers. Getting them to have a half-decent go at it and getting the hooks into their mouths is another story.
But the first step is to get them interested and that certainly hasn’t been too hard.
Look to fish expansive flats with lots of weed beds over large distances. The whiting respond best when the popper is skipped along the surface fairly quickly and if you have only a small area to cover, your popper will almost back to you before sparking the fishes’ interest enough to get the strike.
Whiting don’t respond to a paused lure the way bream do. Pause the lure and they normally lose interest and turn away.
The more water you can cover, the better; when you see a fish tracking behind the lure, don’t be tempted to stop skipping the popper.
There also have been some monster whiting taking baits drifted around the sand flats. Young gun Ethan Nell recently caught a great fish in Boambee Creek on nippers he pumped himself.
Happily, the mangrove jacks have also been playing the game. Our most well-known jack hot spot, Bonville Creek, has been producing quite a few fish although the average size has been only small.
I have heard of a few better quality fish coming from some of the deeper rock bars in the larger systems but the quality jacks do seem to be a little harder to come by than the smaller ones.
I don’t want to upset too many people by giving away all the secrets but soft plastics have been working quite well over the past few weeks.
Cast tight into structure and retrieved with flicks and twitches of the rod tip, they don’t hurt the pocket so much when a decent fish shows you who’s boss.
As always, the offshore fishers have had to put up with plenty of ups and downs with the weather.
The Club Marine Hot Current Tournament, hosted by the Coffs Deep Sea Fishing Club, faced rather average weekend weather and a lot of the smaller boats were really feeling it by day four after the ocean pounded them with wind and swell for the first three.
However, competitors found some fish with a few good yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi caught along with a spearfish and a few other species, but unfortunately only a few billfish were raised and hooked.
Closer to the coast, there have been some great snapper taken. Mate Jo Gorton has been giving the reds a touch-up and boating his fair share of quality fish. He says soft plastics are still working a treat.Reads: 4026